Second Life and the Coming Boom In Virtual Property

Update 02/03/02008: this post has set off a chain of others over the six months since it first appeared and will mostly likely continue to so I’m adding this search link. Pay special attention to the China connection as well as the view from a Facebook investor.

While as Wired’s Frank Rose reports some big brands are in fact wasting money in Second Life, discussions based on questions like “Is Second Life on the way out as a marketing vehicle? “ miss the real value chain issues surrounding commerce in Second Life and the rest of the meshverse. Although one has to look beyond even the long tail noted SL journalist James Au discusses, the fundamentals of the coming boom are drop-dead simple, not to mention familiar and proven:

location, location, location

At the end of this post are links to several entries where I’ve covered this from various perspectives. Here I want to touch briefly on scenarios driving the convergence between virtual and tangible property(both places and objects). It would be nice to go into much greater detail but I can’t give away everything – besides, I’m very busy getting ready 🙂

  1. If you track the key money statistics in Second Life, it’s clear that entrepreneurs keep finding ways to put their finger on what’s valuable

    As evidence that business in Second Life is beginning to take off, Rosedale said 830 residents are making more than $1,000 per month, and that number has doubled in the last 6 months. There are more than $1.3 million per day worth of interpersonal transactions.

    Utility Belt: Linden Lab: Second Life entrepreneurship is booming

  2. A new generation of virtual land speculators and developers along the lines of will emerge from the eBay and Amazon communities as the corporations integrate their infrastructures – new uses of virtual currencies will play a huge role here. Over the past year Amazon has been very busy in this regard – check out Life2Life. Tangible marketplaces like swap meets are a very old form of social network that can’t be completely replaced by text and image.
  3. Some call it 3d Printing or Desktop Manufacturing but what Harvard Business Review called Personal Manufacturing Units, is an emerging trend that’s connecting the tangible world of consumers, manufacturers, suppliers, and engineers with the virtual world. Check out Siemens innovative presence in Second Life, then envision a mashup with efforts like Dassault’s Publicis and Supplier Source or Adobe’s Acrobat 3D. There’s also a play here for retail locations like Kinko’s.
  4. Speaking of retail locations, rather than relying exclusively on it’s own island, it’s not too hard to imagine an Adidas working out a deal with an outfit like FootLocker to promote it’s wares in world. FootLocker has employees with time on their hands when tangible traffic is low.
  5. The “nobody’s there” problem in Second Life will get reduced The Next Generation of Avatars.

Related Meshverse Links



  1. Actually, there are indications that Linden Lab will precipitate a crash by continuing to (1) print Linden dollars at will and (2) print land at will.

    That said, location is important – but not in the real world sense. It is only a matter of what one is close to. Footlocker next to an escort club makes no sense – and that’s just plain common sense.

  2. Laurence said

    >Linden Lab will precipitate a crash
    Certainly it’s possible for them to make a mistake but I don’t think that’s ever been the most likely scenario. The leadership has a pretty strong track records for success.

    >It is only a matter of what one is close to.
    Exactly! There’s no reason to believe that the constraints of screen real estate will dramatically change any time soon. Nor do we expect any breakthroughs in the laws of physics that will shorten the time it takes to move bits around the globe. Successful virtual locations will benefit from being within eyesight of where people socialize, window shop etc. They’ll also have to partner with content distribution networks that can ensure the bits are geographically close to the target markets.

  3. csven said

    There’s only one worthwhile location, imo: where the people are… whether they’re alone or congregating. And neither condition really matters. Only the circumstances because that’s relevant to Experience.

    And if there’s no unified model format, that’s also irrelevant. Experience has no file format.

  4. […] tie them together via their Chinese connection. Here on the MJ, these all converge in the coming boom and Second Life. Yes, we can say location, location, location.  There are some excellent videos […]

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